Category Archives: cooking

cooking

Now THAT’S a Ham Sandwich!

This sandwich is sort of Croque Monsieur meets Monte Cristo meets Grilled Cheese and is soooo rich and delicious!

First, whisk together an egg [or two] and some milk.  Add a little pepper, paprika, and some fresh chopped rosemary and lemon thyme.  Heat up some butter in a skillet and dip your bread [I used whole wheat sourdough] into the egg mixture, coating both sides.  Cook the bread like you’re making french toast.  When it’s finished, remove the bread from the pan and top with shaved ham, pickles, mayo, and shredded mozzarella cheese.  Melt a little more butter in the skillet and place the sandwich back in for some melting action [about two minutes on each side over low to medium heat].  Remove from pan, cut in half and eat it up!!!  [And yes, I took a bite out of it before taking this picture.  I couldn’t resist!]

shannon's ham

cooking

Egg & Purple Potato Casserole

La la la rosemary and thyme … lemon thyme in this case.  I am posting two recipes today – both of which use these fresh and fragrant herbs.  First up is my egg and potato casserole.  I used purple potatoes in this batch because that is what we had picked up at the Prospect Park farmers’ market we went to last Saturday.  Any potatoes will do.

potato herbs

Cube your potatoes and boil for about 8 minutes [should still be firm in the middle].

While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together four eggs with a little skim milk [like you are making french toast].  I did mine right in the casserole dish [be sure to spray with a little organic canola oil first!].

eggs & milk

Dice some tomatoes, red peppers, and scallions and stir into egg mixture.  Strain your potatoes, roughly chop your fresh rosemary and lemon thyme and mix it all into the eggs.  Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.  I also microwaved some turkey bacon and crumbled that in as well.  Now you are ready to pop it into your preheated oven at 375 degrees [covered in foil] for about 45 minutes.

ready for oven

When it’s finished, it will be fluffy, golden, and slightly pulling away from the sides of the casserole dish.  Serve and enjoy!  Great for breakfast, brunch, and even dinner.  Serves four [or two if you’re really hungry!].

egg & purple potato casserole

cooking

Tasty Couscous Salad

I just recently became a big fan of couscous.  I had eaten it before – usually as a muted little side dish, but never as the star of the meal.  I love the texture of it … the way it rolls around and pops in your mouth.  Delicious!  I was staring in my cupboard and refrigerator today wondering what I would have for lunch and this box of couscous stared back at me …

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So, I got out my cutting board and chopped up a red pepper, halved some grape tomatoes, shredded a carrot, performed a chiffonade on some fresh basil leaves, and peeled two mandarin oranges.  I poured 1 cup of boiling water over 1 cup of the couscous, covered it, and let it sit for five minutes.  When it was ready, I fluffed it, added a pat of butter and my veggie/citrus mix.  Then I stirred in about a tablespoon of honey and squeezed in the juice of one orange.  That’s it!  Serve warm or chilled!  Would be great with some almond slivers tossed in too!

tasty couscous salad

cooking

Couscous & Eggplant Casserole

I made this versatile dish for us last week and we gobbled it up without even missing the meat [we love a good steak here in the Shirley household]!  It’s fairly easy to make and can be made ahead and thrown back into the oven to heat up again when you’re ready.

To Make Couscous & Eggplant Casserole …  Slice off the top [and discard] of a large eggplant and then cut into bite sized cubes, lightly salt and set aside.  [I removed the skin from one half of the eggplant and left it on the other just to have different textures.]  Saute onions and red peppers in olive oil with salt, pepper, a little bit of cumin, and some cinnamon.  Toss in your eggplant cubes [or use a separate pan if yours isn’t big enough] and add a little more olive oil.  Be careful with how much oil you are using – eggplant is super absorbent and you don’t want it to be greasy.  If you have them on hand, toss in a handful of golden raisins too.  Keep on medium heat until tender then remove and set aside.

eggplantonionredpepper

Meanwhile, cook your couscous according to package directions [mine took just five minutes and I tossed the ‘spice pack’ that was included].  In a small bowl mix about 1/2 cup ricotta cheese [goat cheese or fresh mozzarella would work well in this dish too], fresh chopped parsley, and a squirt of lemon juice [or some orange or lemon zest].  Now the fun part – mix everything together in a casserole dish or baking pan, cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional ten minutes.  Eat.

couscouseggplantcasserole

I would have taken a prettier picture of it plated, but we couldn’t wait long enough to eat it.  When you have an eight month old that isn’t sleeping through the night, you eat when you can and you do it fast.  :-)  Enjoy!

cooking

Turkey Dill Burgers

Sorry for the oh so less than perfect picture of this burger.  It was late, we were hungry, and I have horrible lighting in my kitchen.  That aside, these burgers are juicy and delicious.  I got the idea from an old Salmon Dill Burger recipe the chef at a restaurant I worked at fourteen years ago used to make.  I am not a salmon fan, but figured it would work well with turkey, since it’s sort of a “blank slate” meat.  To jazz it up even more, I mixed some capers into some light mayo to spread on the buns.  So Tasty!

turkey dill burger

To Make Turkey Dill Burgers … Mix a little salt, fresh ground black pepper, and about a teaspoon [maybe a little more depending on how many burgers you are making – I made two] of dried dill into your ground turkey breast.  I also mixed in some fresh chopped parsley, but I’ve also made them without it.  Shape into patties and place in hot skillet that has been sprayed with a hit of non-stick spray [we use organic canola].  Cook for about 7-10 minutes on each side over medium heat.  When the burgers are almost finished, melt a slice of swiss cheese on top.  We added lettuce, tomato, and caper mayo to our burgers too.  Quick, Easy, and Good for You!!  Enjoy!

cooking

Fried Green Tomato Recipes

This past weekend we woke up early, Mike and I had baked eggs w/ prosciutto and cheddar at Fabiane’s, Ava dined al fresco in the park, and we visited our local farmers’ markets in McCarren Park and DUMBO.  I think we are going to make this a regular thing – we had such a great time together and picked up some beautiful fruits and vegetables.

Mike and Ava at waterfront park in DUMBO

mike and ava DUMBO

Farmers’ Market fruits

market fruits

In addition to the mouth watering fruit, we brought home fresh baked whole wheat sourdough bread, parsley root [parsnips], sweet red onions, radishes, red tomatoes, and green tomatoes.  I was most excited to slice into those green tomatoes …

Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches

FGT Sandwich

Fried Green Tomatoes w/ Cucumber & Apple Slaw

FGT w/cucuappleslaw

To make Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches … Slice green tomato, lightly salt, dip into egg wash [1 beaten egg] and then into mixture of flour, bread crumbs, and black pepper.  Place tomatoes into a hot oil filled [I used canola oil and you do not want too much – tomatoes should NOT be covered by the oil] skillet to fry.  While the greenies are frying, slice up some red tomato, onion, fresh mozzarella, and bread.  Flip your green tomatoes when they are brown on one side.  Drizzle slices of bread with olive oil.  Remove the fried green tomatoes from the pan and place on paper towel to soak up some of the excess oil.  Layer bread with the ingredients, adding leaves of fresh basil along the way.  Eat.

To make Fried Green Tomatoes w/ Cucumber & Apple Slaw … Follow directions for fried green tomatoes above.  The slaw is easy.  Julienne two cucumbers and one apple.  Add a tablespoon or so of mayo, teaspoon of white [or apple cider] vinegar, a little bit of fresh black pepper, and some poppy seeds.  Toss together, chill, and serve on top of warm FGT.  Delicious!

cooking fashion life

At Home Beauty Recipes

Not too long ago, just getting the chance to take a shower was a luxury for me.  Now that Ava is almost sleeping through the night I have reinstated my evening bathtime, but it’s still fairly difficult to get myself dressed and looking pretty in the mornings.  I have simplified my hair and make-up routines – hair up, dab of foundation, sweep of blush and eyeshadow, mascara, lip gloss [at lightning speed], and I’m ready to go.  That’s all fine and dandy, but every now and then I still need to feel like a girl and do girly things … like put a moisturizing mask on my face and paint my nails or style my hair or treat my skin to a lovely, scented, exfoliating scrub down.  What’s great is that many of these beauty treatments are really easy to make at home for so much less than what you would pay in the store … and they are all natural! So put the kids to bed or have your hubby take them out for an afternoon and take some time to make yourself feel pretty!!

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cooking

Making Salad in My Sleep

Today is supposed to be my Thursday fashion post about stylish maternity wear, but I was so tired last night that I didn’t get the chance to finish.  Tomorrow I will still be sharing recipes for beauty and promise I will get the maternity styles up on Saturday.  For some reason I am out of steam this week.  Maybe it’s the humidity … or maybe it’s just the combination of chasing Ava around all day and barely sleeping at night.  Mike and I came to the realization the other day that we won’t get to sleep in again until we’re like 50.  Makes me want to go back in time and really savor those lazy sleep until noon days.

Well, I don’t want to forfeit this post entirely, so here are some great recipes for a few simple, delicious, and healthy summer salads!  Enjoy!

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To Make Green Bean & Squash Salad … Boil fresh green beans for about 4 minutes and then place into ice water.  Thinly slice yellow squash and place in bowl with mixed greens.  Chop up some green [or red] onion and add to salad.  Remove green beans from the ice water, blot dry and toss into bowl w/ some light italian dressing or olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper.  Crisp and clean flavors!  Yummy!

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To Make Black Bean & Avocado Salad … This one is soooo simple.  Boil water and toss in corn.  Cut up avocado, carrot, green pepper, and tomato [optional].  Strain corn and rinse under cold water.  Open up a can of black beans and rinse.  Throw everything together in a bowl and you’re finished!  If you want to add a little spice, throw in some garlic [or mix in garlic paste] or jalepeno, a little bit of lime juice, and some salt.  Have leftovers?  Throw it in some soft or hard taco shells with grilled chicken or ground beef.

XO

baby / tots cooking

Getting Kids to Eat Vegetables – Tricks and Tips

The other night Mike told me that when his dad was a little boy, he convinced his mother that he was allergic to salad.  I can remember chomping away on radishes from grampa’s garden as a little girl and loathing the sight of them a few years later [I now like them again].   I can also remember sitting at the kitchen table with my brother, staring at the cold red beets left on our dinner plates [We were instructed by mom that we could not leave the table until we ate those beets.].  I hated beets for a long time after that and they still aren’t my favorite, but I can handle them in a nice salad with goat cheese from time to time.

Right now Ava gobbles up everything I put into her spoon.  She especially seems to love peas, butternut squash, and a sweet potato/apricot mix.  After her next check-up, we will be able to expand her palate even further with World Baby Foods [I raved about these in a previous post].  Regardless of my efforts today, one day I will no doubt be giving Ava a lecture on why she needs to eat her vegetables.  Children have finicky palates.  They might love something one day and make gagging noises at it the next.  The best advice?  Don’t give up and don’t give in.  Here are a few tips to help sneak those evil little plants into your little ones’ tummies.

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Mix, mash, blend, bake, boil, chop, and grill. Experiment with the different textures and flavors by preparing vegetables in different ways.

Use familiar foods. Sneak veggies onto a pizza by putting them under the cheese.  Add corn into your ground beef for tacos.  Mash peas into mashed potatoes.  You get the idea.

Make things fun by involving your child in food preparation.  Sometimes kids are more likely to try something new if they helped make it.  For younger tots, make eating veggies a game – for example, place salad ingredients into different bowls and let your child make a veggie face on his/her plate [shredded carrot hair, cherry tomato eyes, etc] and then gobble up the face!

Cupcakes.
Carrots, zucchini, sqaush, and even beets can be made into delicious, nutritious cupcakes.

Recipe for Beet Cupcakes from Straight from the Farm.

Recipe for Butternut Squash Cupcakes from Vanilla Garlic.

Alternatives to French Fries.
-Bake them instead of frying
-Try baked sweet potato fries [You can usually find them in a bag in the freezer section to make it hassle free.  They go great with honey mustard or mayo!]
-Parsnip fries [Don’t knock ’em until you’ve tried ’em.  They are packed with vitamins, folic acid and fiber and most importantly look just like “real” french fries.  Toss with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pop in the oven for about 25 mins.]

There are tons of resources available these days [cookbooks, websites, blogs] dedicated to this subject so by all means, use them.  Eventually [hopefully] this veggie hating phase will pass and there will be a new “I hate this” phase to deal with.

Have a sneak vegetable trick or recipe of your own?  Post it as a comment!!

baby / tots cooking creativity decor fashion life

Birthdays and Things to Come

Thursday was my birthday [Happy Birthday to ME!].  Another year older and almost eight months into my first year as a mom.  The day started with a couple of iced coffees and a trip to the playground before Mike had to go to work.  I received a flower delivery from my mom and gramma in the afternoon and then Mike came home early so we could go out for a nice dinner at Walter Foods.  Filet mignon and wine.  After we put Ava to bed, Mike brought out my birthday cake.  He chose a flourless chocolate cake [tortino di cioccolata] from the award winning Grandaisy Bakery in Soho that was DELICIOUS.  I also got to do a bit of birthday shopping this weekend.  This was probably one of my quietest birthdays [I’ve been known to celebrate loudly with lots of friends and wine] and definitely one of the best.

This week is going to be jammed packed with tips and finds! Tomorrow I’ll be sharing all my latest baby obsessions and Wednesday we’ll be focusing on getting your little ones to eat their vegetables.  On Thursday, I’ll be posting more stylish maternity clothes [as this has been one of my more popular posts] and options for what to wear after your bundle of joy arrives.  And on Friday I’ll share some beauty recipes you can easily make at home instead of paying for pricy store bought treatments.  I’m also working on some more interviews with cool and interesting chicks for later in the month and starting next week, Mondays will be a new series titled “Wedding Bells”!  Lots to look forward to, so be sure to keep checking back!  Thanks to all of you for making Furious Shirley such a success!  XO

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